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Democrats controversial plan to make Californians pay for electricity based on personal income

The State of California and its legislators have once again become a focal point of national interest, this occasion being centered around the method by which residents are billed for electricity. A novel directive has been issued, instructing utilities across the state to adjust their billing practices. Rather than calculating charges based on the volume of electricity consumed, bills will now reflect the income levels of the consumers.

Free legal services for illegal immigrants convicted of violent crimes

In a matter of weeks, California legislators have proposed bills with significant implications for undocumented immigrants, utilizing taxpayer funds. Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, a Los Angeles Democrat, introduced legislation to provide undocumented immigrants, convicted of violent crimes, with free legal representation. This initiative, expected to be funded through the One California program, has ignited widespread discussion amidst a critical immigration debate.

Interest-free loans for first homebuyers

Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula, a Fresno Democrat, proposed Assembly Bill 1840, which would enable undocumented immigrants to qualify for interest-free home loans. According to the proposal from few weeks ago, this aims to support undocumented immigrants in accessing the California Dream for All Shared Appreciation Loans program, established to assist first-time homebuyers in navigating the challenges of rising housing costs. This proposal has also generated considerable national discourse.

Continuous trend of controversial measures

Even though California has a big budget deficit, its legislative plan is still full of controversial ideas, and Democrats often introduce measures that no one expected. In a move to redistribute energy costs, Democrats have suggested that wealthy residents should pay more for electricity so energy prices remain more affordable for those who struggle financially. As part of this plan, utilities across the state are now required by law to change how they bill customers, from basing their bills on how much energy they use to basing them on their income.

California utility firms are required to change how they bill customers, from basing their bills on how much energy they use to basing them on their income

Read also: Newsom responds brutally after Speaker Johnson blames California policies for out-of-hand immigration

The first state to impose such calculation

“This would be the first state to charge people based on their income rather than what they actually just use,” said Shon Hiatt, director of the USC Business of Energy Transition initiative, to Fox Business.

“The problem here has been affordability. While California has focused almost completely on clean energy, it has disregarded reliability and affordability, and costs have continued to escalate. So, one of the (ways) they thought to address affordability (was), ‘Let’s just consider a tax and begin taxing people based on their income to address electricity rates.'”

Changes to take effect this summer

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has a deadline of July 1 to set up a new way of charging for electricity. This plan, suggested by the three big electric companies in the state — Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric — is based on how much money people make.

Families making between $28,000 and $69,000 a year would have to pay an extra $20 to $34 each month. Those who earn between $69,000 and $180,000 would face an increase of $51 to $73 monthly, and anyone making more than $180,000 would see their bill go up by $85 to $128 every month.

California utility firms are required to change how they bill customers, from basing their bills on how much energy they use to basing them on their income

Shock for Californians who already pay a lot for electricity combined with nation’s average

That’s a lot because the cost of electricity in California is already higher than most of the country. People in California spend about 32 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity they use, while the average across the U.S. is only 18 cents, says Energy Sage, a company that watches energy costs. According to some calculations, the average electric bill in California is $273 a month, or $3,276 a year.

This plan is causing a lot of trouble for the Democratic lawmakers in Sacramento, particularly upsetting those who make more money, especially in coastal areas. Over a dozen Democrats are trying to take back their support for this plan, joining some Republicans who didn’t like the idea of charging people based on their income from the start.

Read also: Biden admin turns down California request, won’t pay millions to cover inappropriate spending during COVID

Democrat changes mind

Jacqui Irwin, a Democrat from Thousand Oaks, expressed frustration, saying it’s time to rethink how California charges for electricity. She pointed out that during times when saving energy is crucial to prevent power outages, the new policy might lead some people to use even more electricity. Irwin had originally supported the legislation but reversed her stance following complaints from middle-income voters who were concerned that their efforts to save energy could end up costing them more than those who consume a lot.

Privacy concerns

Questions about how to protect people’s privacy and check their income also arose, with doubts about who would handle this sensitive information to adjust electric bills. She highlighted the practical and legal hurdles in figuring out everyone’s income in the state, suggesting it would be a complicated process fraught with legal and privacy issues.

“The assumption is, ‘Well, if you’re making $100,000 in the state, you must be super-wealthy,'” Hiatt remarked. “But what if you have five or six kids? Will they be treated the same as a single head of household?”

Read also: Insurance market meltdown: Gov. Newsom remains silent as Texas based company leaves California

Newsom’s 2035 carbon-free agenda always in the focus

Why did California entertain this bureaucratic nightmare? Many critics have blamed Gov. Gavin Newsom and his strict energy mandate that the state be carbon-free by 2035, along with the Democrat’s insistence that lawmakers fast-track the bill with no discussion.

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